Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wyatt's First Birthday

Today, our youngest grandson turned one year old. It only seems like a few months since he was born. I guess time flies when you are having fun.

Joey, Renee and Wyatt came to spend the weekend with us so we could participate in Wyatt’s first birthday. Donna and her family came up tonight from Ruskin to take part, also.

I cooked dinner for everyone, and then we brought out the cake. I am not sure how much he comprehended what the party was all about, but I can assure you that he had a ball.

We had a beautiful cake for Wyatt, and he actually seemed to try to blow out the candle. Of course, he had some help. Everyone was anxious to cut into the cake, and I must admit that we did justice to it once the “blow the candle out” session was finished.

Even our newest member of the family, Skeeter, got in the action with his birthday hat. Some dogs will do anything for a bite of cake.

After stuffing ourselves with cake, we moved on to the presents. Right now, in this stage of Wyatt's life, "Chuck the Truck" is his favorite thing. He got tons of different variations, and had the time of his life playing with them.

After totally wearing himself out, it was time for his first birthday bath, and then off to bed. By the time Joey & Renee layed him down for the night, Wyatt was out like a light. Sweet dreams, Wyatt.

It was a great party with family.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Great day at "Old Town" with my daughter & Family

It was a beautiful day here in Florida. I had scheduled to meet my oldest daughter, Marcene, her husband, Dan and my granddaughter, Tori in Kissimmee, FL for lunch today. The weather was so nice; I put the top down on my Mustang and cruised along I-4 to Kissimmee for our lunch date. We met at “Old Town” on route 192 by Disney World. This is a unique spot filled with restaurants, novelty shops and various amusement rides.

We had agreed to start our visit by having lunch at “Kool Katz” restaurant. Arriving a few moments before Marcene and her family, I settled down on the outside patio (the table underneath the Oldsmobile convertible in the picture) and enjoyed a Bloody Mary while I waited for them. Dan had decided that it was a perfect day to get some time on his bike, so he drove his Harley, following Marcene and Tori in their car. Dan has become a weekend warrior, and just could not pass up the opportunity to get some bike time in. I suggested that he should get a sidecar so they could all three ride on the bike.

When they arrived, we decided to be seated inside the restaurant in order to let Dan cool down from his ride. His face was flushed and Marcene was concerned he was getting overheated. I will have to admit that I was somewhat warm myself, after riding with the top down. We enjoyed a delicious meal with good conversation, catching up with each other’s lives since we had last visited. I ordered a Reuben sandwich, one of my favorite dishes. It was excellent.

After lunch, we all walked around and checked out the many novelty stores included in the "Old Town" complex. They have lots of unique shops to browse through, and we hit them all. We refrained from participating on any of the rides, but did linger at the “Haunted Grim House”. We enjoyed talking to some of the characters there

Tori found a cute boy while we were there, but I thought that he was a little on the strange side. I guess Granddad is a bit over protective….

It was a great day, visiting with Marcene and her family. They live in Palm Bay, FL on the East coast, so we meet somewhere in the middle occasionally. That way no one has to drive too far. I hope that they will be able to come to our house for a full weekend sometime in May.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dodie is Home

After a full day of tests, the doctors couldn't find the cause for Dodie's right hand and arm's lack of mobility and numbness. We met with two doctors late today, and they both gave her a clean bill of health. Her liver enzymes have come down to an almost normal level.

In short, they do not have a clue, so they told us that she could come home. We arrived back at the house about an hour ago, and she has settled in, and seems relatively comfortable.

We may never know what caused the problem. Hopefully, her arm will continue to improve.

On a positive note, the two cats and the dog were elated to have her home. So was I.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Update on Dodie's tests

I just arrived home from the hospital. The last test of the day was an echo sonogram of both her heart and her abdomen. The one for her abdomen was due to her liver enzymes being elevated.
The doctors have not diagnosed the problem yet, outside of eliminating the problem being from a stroke. We should receive some meaningful opinions tomorrow.
She has had some feeling return to her right hand and arm, and she can move them to some degree. At least the problem is better, even though the doctors do not seem to have a clue to what is causing it yet. Hopefully, all the tests from today will point them in the right direction.

At the Hospital

Yesterday morning, Dodie awoke to discover that her right arm and hand were numb. She was not able to bend her elbow or use her arm. Suspicioning that she may have had a stroke, we went to the Emergency Room of Lakeland Regional Medical Center to check out the problem. After a CT scan, the doctors eliminated the possibility that she had a stroke, but had no idea what could be causing the loss of fealing and use in her arm.

The doctors decided to admit her into the hospital, and scheduled a large battery of tests to be performed today. Hopefully, we will know what the cause is before the day is out.

I'll report back in a new posting as soon as I get some answers from her doctors.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Florida Registration for my Car Hauling Trailer

We have an enclosed trailer for hauling a car behind our motor home. It has a special paint job that matched the Monaco Signature 40' motor home that we had before trading for the Monaco Monarch we now have. Rather than trading it with the Signature, we decided to keep it in case we needed it to use as a utility trailer. At present, it is being used to store our lawn equipment. It has an out-of-state tag and registration, and I would like to obtain a Florida registration instead. This has become a hassle.

First, I downloaded the applicatiion form for Florida and filled it out. Then I took the title, along with the completed application to the local tag agency. I was told that I needed to get the identification number verified since the trailer was titled out of state. I ask the General Mananger of the dealership that occupies my old dealership property to come by and verify the number. Then I took that back to the tag agency. At that point, I was told that I needed to take the trailer to a scale and obtain a weight slip. Yesterday, I hooked the Hummer up to the trailer intending on having it weighed, only to realize that the trailer had a different wiring connector than was on the Hummer. I went out and purchased the proper connector. Now I will wire the new connector to the trailer so I can haul the trailer to the scales and have it weighed. Hopefully, I will then be able to take the paperwork back to the tag agency and optain a Florida tag and registration. I'll let you know how it all works out in a future post.

                                  ~Update on our new dog~


Our new dog, Skeeter, is doing well. He is turning out to be a fantastic pet. He never barks unless someone comes to the door, then only once, just to let us know. He sleeps as late as we do, so he doesn't interupt our rest. He goes out without needing a leash, and comes when we call him. I was reluctant to get a dog, especially since we already have two cats. I have to admit, though, that he was a good choice.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goodbye Nick

Nick, packed & Ready to Leave

Well, we had to say our goodbyes to Nick, our Russian friend, this morning. He is making his 60-mile bike ride back to the west side of Tampa today. He will be staying a few days with a friend from Moscow, and then he will be flying to New York to catch his return flight back to Russia.

Nick, on th Road to Tampa

I offered to load his bike in the back of the Hummer and drive him there, but he said that he would rather ride the bike and see the sights on the way.

We will miss Nick, but he will be back in about six months to visit us again. He is planning to spend time in Columbia and Uruguay on his next travel itinerary. He will probably fly from Moscow into Tampa, spend a month or two here in Florida, and then fly to South America.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Work day at home

We were up at five O’clock this morning to have coffee with big & little Johnnie before they left for home in South Carolina. It was a short stay, but it was nice to see them if only for a short time.
Nick decided to stay an extra day, so I put him to work helping me work on the motor home. We repaired the automatic entrance steps that I bent (badly) when I pulled into our parking spot here at the house in Lakeland. This was caused by the door being opened just as I approached a raised cement step on the corner of the patio, causing the steps to come down and collide with the cement. The steps lost the battle, and ended up severely bent. Nick & I worked tirelessly at straightening all of the braces and finally got everything back in alignment.

Expensive Bolt Assembly
One bolt on the steps assembly sheered during the collision. It is a unique bolt assembly. It has a special sleeve that could not be found locally. We put a standard bolt in temporarily, and I ordered a new assembly from the manufacturer. This assembly is priced at $15.75 plus tax and shipping. Quite a pricey little part, but I could not complain, as I would never find a replacement from another source.

In addition, we installed the new door on my refrigerator that had been ordered. For anyone new to my blog, the lower hinge broke on my Norcold fridge while we were in the Keys. I made a temporary repair, which lasted us until we returned home, but I feared that it would not hold up much longer.
Amoung a few other repairs, which I will not bore you with, we did accomplish fixing the door closer that was busted during the step mishap. Don't ask.....

Later, we grilled hamburgers on the grill. It's going to be an early evening. I am not accustomed to rising at five in the morning. Retirees are allowed to sleep in a little later than that. At least this retiree is.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A New Member of the Family

Dodie's brother, Johnie and his Grandson, little Johnie brought a dog from South Carolina today. They left Harleyville, South Carolina at 6:00 AM and drove all the way to Lakeland just to bring the dog. Now that's brotherly love...

Dodie with her new dog, Skeeter

 She has been wanting a small dog for some time. They had a friend that needed to find a home for "Skeeter", so now Dodie has her dog. She promises to walk Skeeter faithfully and take care of him. From the picture, you can see that he has made himself right at home.

Boys night out
We had a great visit with big and little Johnnie, plus, Nick is still here also. Dodie stayed at home and played with her new dog, while us four guys went to Steak & Shake for dinner. We had a great waitress named Ava, who took our picture. Sorry about the light spot in the upper left hand corner. Ava was a good sport, and we had to include a picture of her, too.

Nick & our waitress, Ava

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Visiting with Nick

Nick, our Russian friend arrived just before midnight last night after pedaling his bicycle approximately sixty miles from the west side of Tampa. We were up extremely late, drinking wine and catching up. It was great seeing my good friend after him being in Panama for the last two months. He fell in love with Panama, and could not stop talking about all of its wonders.

Later in the day, Nick helped me repair the automatic steps on my motor home. I bent them badly while pulling into my spot here at the house after arriving home from our trip to the Keys and Okeechobee. In addition, I disassembled the pressure regulator assembly on my compressor and was able to repair it. That saved me over eighty dollars for a new regulator. Life is good....

Nick enjoying his internet connection

Sergey, Tanya, Nick & Dodie during a past visit

We slept in late this morning. After a couple cups of coffee. Nick could not wait to get on my laptop and start copying files of the many pictures he had taken while in Panama. He also put Skype to good use, calling many of his friends all around the world.

I took part in a video call to Sergey & Tanya, Nicks close friends, in Moscow. They have visited us here in Lakeland several times. It was great to catch up with them. They informed me that they would be back in the States in October, but unfortunately, they will not be able to make it to Florida. Sergey's Mom lives in Boston and they will be spending time with her after traveling throughout the West coast. I hope that they will visit us next trip.

I grilled pork chops on the grill, and we feasted on the chops along with French fries, green beans and applesauce. Unfortunately, Dodie did not sleep all night, and had finally fallen to sleep before dinner. We saved some for her in case she wakes up hungry.

Nick with girlfriend, Stasia

Nick showed me some of the many pictures from Panama, including a Russian girl he met while there with him on the beach. She is a singer performing in Panama City. Nick is like a magnet when it comes to meeting pretty girls wherever he is. When he was traveling with Dodie and me in Mexico, everywhere we went, he found a new girl. It must be nice to be young.

Nick and I are both dragging our feet, so I expect it to be an early night.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Our Russian Friend

A couple years ago, we met a really nice guy from Russia while I was recuperating from surgery in Isla Aguada, Mexico. He was backpacking through Mexico and pitched his tent on the beach in front of our motor home. On the first morning he was there, I watched him break down his tent and pack everything in his backpack. I was amazed at how much he was able to meticulously fit into that backback. After he had finished, I ask him if he would like a cup of coffee. He accepted my offer and joined me on our patio. We had an enjoyable visit over coffee. He told me that he travels all over the world hitch hiking and hiking with his backpack. He works in Moscow for six months, then travels for six months. He has been doing this for a number of years.

Nick in our motor home

After several days, we invited Nicolay (Nick) to stay in our motor home, and he ended up traveling with us through Mexico for the next two months. He was a godsend to me, helping me with some of the more physical aspects of our travels. Needless to say, we became close friends. Dodie cried when we had to leave him in Mexico as we crossed the border for our return trip home. We tried to get him a visa to come with us, but were not successful. The only way he can get a visa to enter the U.S. is by applying while he is still in Russia.

Nick has visited us here in Florida several times since we were with him in Mexico. He has been traveling in Panama for the last couple months. He visited us here in Lakeland, then I took him to the Orlando airport for his flight. He called me today. He has arrived in Tampa, bought a bicycle, and is riding it to our home tonight. We are looking forward to visiting with Nick for a few days before he returns to Moscow. I'll follow up on his visit tomorrow.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Interesting Trivia

I have compiled a list of anecdotes that contains information that you probably have absolutely no need for, but may find interesting to know. I have no idea if this miscellaneous information is correct, so please do not bash me if you find any faults in its authenticity. 
·        If you are right handed, you will tend to chew your food on the right side of your mouth. If you are a left hander, you will tend to chew your food on the left side of your mouth.
·        To make half a kilo of  honey, bees must collect nectar from over 2 million individual  flowers.
·        Communications giant Nokia was founded in 1865 as a wood-pulp mill by Fredrik Idestam.
·        Tourists visiting Iceland should know that tipping at a restaurant is considered an insult!
·        Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952, but he declined.
·        Astronauts cannot belch -  there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in their  stomachs.
·        Ancient Roman, Chinese  and German societies often used urine as mouthwash.
·        The Mona Lisa has no  eyebrows. In the Renaissance era, it was fashion to shave them!
·        Because of the speed at  which Earth moves around the Sun, it is impossible for a solar eclipse  to last more than 7 minutes and 58 seconds.
·        Google is actually the  common name for a number with a million zeros
·        Gold is the only metal  that doesn't rust, even if it's buried in the ground for thousands of  years.
·        Your tongue is the only  muscle in your body that is attached at only one end
·        If you stop getting  thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.
·        Zero is the only number  that cannot be represented by Roman numerals
·        Kites were used in the  American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.
·        For every real Christmas  tree harvested, two to three seedlings are planted in its  place.
·        Drinking water after  eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61  percent.
·        Peanut oil is used for  cooking in submarines because it doesn't smoke unless it's heated above  450°F.
·        The Shell Oil Company  originally began as a novelty shop in London that sold  seashells.
·        The roar that we hear  when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather  the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.
·        Nine out of every 10  living things live in the ocean.
·        The banana cannot  reproduce itself. It can be propagated only by the hand of  man.
·        The University of Alaska  spans four time zones.
·        The tooth is the only  part of the human body that cannot heal itself.
·        Do you know the names of  the three wise monkeys? They are Mizaru (See no evil), Mikazaru (Hear no evil) and Mazaru (Speak no  evil).
·        Warner Communications  paid $28 million for the copyright to the song Happy  Birthday.
·        A comet's tail always points away from the sun.
·        The Swine Flu vaccine in 1976 caused more death and illness than the disease it was intended to prevent.
·        Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers. That is why it is found in some medicines.
·        The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised  their visors to reveal their identity.
·        If you get into the  bottom of a well or a tall chimney and look up, you can see stars, even  in the middle of the day.
·        When a person dies, hearing is the last sense to go. The first sense lost is sight.
·        In ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed
·        Strawberries are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside
·        The moon moves about two inches away from the Earth each year
·        The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust
·        Due to earth's gravity  it is impossible for mountains to be higher than 15,000 meters
·        Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration  which could be sufficient to knock the bridge  down
·        The painting that won second place in a competition held by the US National Academy of Design  was hanging upside down when it was judged
·        Everything weighs one percent less at the equator
·        For every extra kilogram carried on a space flight, 530 kg of excess fuel are needed at  lift-off
·        In 2011, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays. This apparently happens once every 823 years!

Finally the fallen tree is gone

This was a day devoted to yard work. Since Derrick, my yard boy, was working today, I went to Sears and purchased a new chain for my chain saw. After installing the chain, I went out and declared war on the petrified fallen tree trunk. With the new chain, I was able to cut the trunk into manageable pieces and Derrick hauled them out to the curb for the refuge removal team to pick up.

After the tree clean up was accomplished, everything went downhill rapidly. My riding mower started cutting out every time the blades were engaged. After tracing the wiring throughout the mower, I discovered that the kill switch mounted under the seat was defective. The switch is designed for the purpose of cutting off the engine in the event that the rider is thrown off the mower. Off again to Sears. I purchased a new kill switch and installed it, putting the mower back in action. Next, we needed to inflate one of the tractor's tires only to discover that the regulator on my compressor blew a diaphragm. It was leaking air almost as fast as it was building up pressure. We did manage to inflate the tire, but I will need to replace the regulator. I disassembled the regulator assembly, but was unable to locate the proper regulator. I was told that this will need to be ordered and will cost over $80.00. Before ordering the regulator, I plan to do some shopping and hopefully be able to find a regulator that I can adapt to my compressor for considerably less cost. This will need to be another day's project since I will have to order the parts. If all of these problems were not enough to deal with, I bent one of the mower blades. Off again to Sears for a new blade. By the time I returned with the blade, it was becoming too late to install it and finish mowing the two acres, so I will finish tomorrow.

On a more positive note, it was a beautiful day here in Lakeland, and they are forecasting more of the same tomorrow. Also, our government did not shut down. I am hoping that they will come to an agreement by next Thursday that will give us the proper formula for correcting our crisis. At least we can hope.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Will our Government shut down at midnight tomorrow?

I received my weekly “Situation Report” from Richard Nugent, my local Congressman, and would like to share it with you. In my opinion, Congressman Nugent has his head screwed on straight and has a good prospective of our current problems.
Quote from Congressman Richard Nugent’s
Situation Report received today:

Dear Friends,
This is going to be a long one folks, but needless to say, there is quite a bit going on in Washington this week:  Is the government going to shutdown?  Will the Democrats agree to make some serious cuts?  What’s going to happen with the budget?  I wish I had the answers.  All I can tell you is that 47 days ago, Republicans passed a spending bill for the remainder of the year.  In those 47 days, the President and the Democrat majority in the Senate have not passed or put forward a counter-proposal. 
The President, for his part, left town, started a war in Libya, filled out a March Madness bracket, left town again, and in the last few days, started complaining that Republicans hadn’t passed a budget.  I might have thought that he missed the House passing its bill because he was jet-setting around, but then I remembered he immediately threatened to veto our bill without offering a proposal of his own.  Then, a couple days ago, he said we “need to act like grownups.”  I don’t know about you, but I take exception to that.
That’s the thing about President Obama.  He has a whole swarm of advisers who read polls and tell him that the American people are getting frustrated because he is not being a leader.  This isn’t new.  Several months ago, when that swarm was telling him he needed to do something about the budget, he decided to put together a deficit commission.  That is classic Washington-speak for doing something when you’re really doing nothing.
In any event, after much fanfare and a couple dozen press conferences, the Deficit Commission got to work.  When they released their proposal recommending dramatic cuts to spending, the President quietly avoided them and then released a budget completely ignoring their recommendations. I guess he hoped nobody would notice.   We did.
Earlier this week, after much hard work and thoughtful deliberations, Paul Ryan, the Republican Chairman of the House Budget Committee released a budget proposal for 2012.  The co-chairs of the President’s own Deficit Commission immediately released a statement calling it “a serious, honest, straightforward approach to addressing our nation’s enormous fiscal challenges” (they didn’t exactly say that about the President’s budget).
While there are certainly things in the Ryan budget proposal that I would have done differently, he lived up to my two key principles.  First, the budget would not affect seniors’ benefits for anybody 55 and up.  I testified before his committee last week and drew a line in the sand about that.  Second, the budget presents a credible strategy for reducing deficits, balancing the budget, and getting the government out of the way of small businesses. 
Ryan’s proposal spends $6.2 trillion less over the next ten years than the President’s proposal and by doing so, America will achieve primary balance in the budget by 2015.  In short, that means that revenues will cover all expenditures (excluding interest payments) within in four years… Keep in mind that our deficit this year is 42% of the whole budget.  That is what I call credible a credible plan. 
Like you, I’d like to see us get to a balanced budget quicker (who wouldn’t?), but as Ryan said to me directly, “Rich, if there were any way on earth to get it done, you know I would.”  He’s a good man and I know he means it.

As always, please feel free to forward this along.  It’s obviously a critical time in Washington and I’d really like to get as much input as possible.
Rich Nugent
Member of Congress
If you have time, click on the link below to read the proposed 2012 budget posted by Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Budget.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Having Fun with the Grandson

Pop Pop & Wyatt

Joey, Renee & Wyatt spent the week-end at our home in Lakeland.  Dodie and I have had a ball playing with our grandson Wyatt. He is at that cute, irresistible age. He is old enough so he responds to you, but not old enough to give you a hard time. We took lots of pictures and here is a sampling of them.

Granny & Wyatt

When he wasn't terrorising our two cats, he was trying to move the furniture, or at least the magazine basket in our living room. He could not understand why it wouldn't move...

Wyatt playing Tug-A-War with the magazine basket

Renee, Joey & Wyatt

It was a great week-end and we hated to see them go.